SHOOTOUT: Rookies shouldn’t be allowed in the Shootout. Enough said.
TRUCK SERIES: The truck series new rule about not having more than five men over the wall at a time showed itself to be stupid the other night. Trucks would come in and either get tires or fuel, then circle back around and get fuel or tires. I can see only having 12 pit crew members as a valid cost cutting measure. But it doesn’t make sense to force the trucks to make two pit stops under one caution. NASCAR already extends cautions too long to allow teams to pit; this just makes them even longer. If they want to do something crazy, why not have a rule that makes teams choose between fuel and tires on a pit stop under caution? In other words, if a caution comes out, you can pit, and you can choose to change tires or fill up with fuel. None of this “double dipping” nonsense we saw the other night.
LOGANO: I’m a little tired already of people telling me how great Joey Logano is. It kind of puts me off of him, especially when there are others as (if not more) talented than he is. Gibbs should have let him run a couple years in the Grand National series before giving him a Cup ride.
GRAND NATIONALS: (Since I don’t get paid to mention the series sponsors, I refer to it by its old name, the Grand National Series.) Saturday’s race was pretty decent. It shows that NASCAR should have left that aero package on the Cup cars up until the new car was mandated. They passed, they ran three wide, and, they didn’t have “the big one”.
RETIRING DRIVERS: Memo to Mark Martin and Bill Elliot – if you’re going to retire, then retire. I realize Mark is back to a full-time ride this year with Hendrick, to try to accomplish something he could never do with Roush (that is, to win a championship). But a few years ago, he announced he was retiring. Aging drivers run the risk of falling into the Petty/Waltrip trap: continuing to drive way past the time they should have gotten out of the car. Take a page from Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett – just retire.
PAINT SCHEMES: I have to say, I really like the scheme of the 24 Cup car this season. Don’t know what it is, but it’s really sharp. And who would have ever thought we’d see a #43 without a trace of Petty Blue? Seeing that it really solidified the fact that Richard Petty is now just a figurehead in “Richard Petty Motorsports”.
START TIMES: I realize the broadcasters want me to watch the pre-race shows, but frankly, I’m not interested. I want to see on my DVR’s guide when the actual race coverage starts. Back when I was a bigger fan, I watched all the coverage I could find. But now I actually have a life, and I’ve got other things to. By combining the pre-race coverage with the actual race coverage, I’m prevented from time-shifting the race without paying a little attention to the pre-race show. NASCAR has the start time on their schedule on their web site, but it was still 20 minutes earlier than the actual race start. And one more thing: NASCAR needs to move the start times up. This race should have started about two hours earlier than it did. If it had started earlier, it would have been over by the time the rain came.
ANTHEM: One of my pet peeves is the performance of the National Anthem. Nine times out of ten it’s just awful: the performers try to “make it their own” or show their improvisational skills or whatever. The one before the Daytona 500 was no exception. I don’t know who the guy was, but it sounded like he’d rather have been anywhere else but Daytona. Who auditions these people?
SELLOUTS: They said during the broadcast that it took until Saturday night to sell out all the seats for the 500. And for the first time I can ever remember, Bristol has season tickets available. Perhaps this might give the promoters a clue that their product is overpriced.
COMPETITION CAUTIONS: If NASCAR is going to mandate that teams come in for a competition caution to check tires, then the teams should restart in the same order they were running in before the caution. This is not like a caution for a wreck; this is something the teams have foreknowledge of. Plus, they shouldn’t let them make any chassis adjustments. Just change four tires, fill up with gas, and go back out in the order you came in.
SPONSOR RESTRAINT: It’s obvious that Verizon and AT&T have a TON of money to spend in sponsorships. That’s why it’s mind boggling that NASCAR would give the series sponsor exclusivity. So we have two sponsors that could help underfunded teams being shut out. As a result, they’re paying the TV networks instead of teams. I think one of the interesting side effects of the exclusivity deal is that AT&T and Verizon have more mentions during the broadcast than Sprint.
ROUGH DRIVING: Apparently there’s a different standard for rough driving in the Grand National Series than there is in the Cup Series. Jason Leffler did a move similar to Dale Earnhardt, Jr., but got penalized five laps for it. Imagine if it’d been Kyle Busch who’d made that stupid, boneheaded move that wrecked the whole field. We’d never hear the end of it. Busch showed a LOT of class and maturity in his interview after the wreck. Earnhardt’s excuse during the rain delay rang hollow. What, he doesn’t have a brake pedal?
2009: I was kind of excited for the racing season to get started back up again. But after seeing NASCAR’s blatent favoritism toward’s Dale Jr., it’s put me off. I’d kind of planned on watching more races this year than I had in the last few years, but I think I’ll probably have other things to do most weekends. So, thanks NASCAR. You’ve lost a fan, again.